Comments: General Synod agenda - press reports on women bishops proposals

If the Church is sincere similar arrangements and procedures - mediation etc., will next be employed to bring together those who reject lgbt people in ministry or marriage etc together with those of us who do not reject 'them'.

Posted by Rev'd Laurence Roberts at Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 2:18am BST

"Thirteen did, but the Rev Paul Benfield of the synod's Anglo-Catholic wing and Susie Leafe, director of the conservative evangelical Reform group, abstained from the vote." - Guardian Report

Despite William Fittal's encouragement that 13 of the 15 members of the Steering Committee voted for the 'safeguards', it is plain that the abstention of Benfield and Leafe from the actual voting gives evidence of some opposition to the arrangements from within the Committee.

Why is this one issue - the ministry of women - so worrying to the two extremes of churchmanship in the Church of England that they have formed this unlikely structured liaison? What is it about the ministry of women that so threatens their basic understanding of what God desires of us in the way of equality - based on Paul's declaration that: "In Christ, there is neither male nor female"?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 9:07am BST

I think Ron reads too much into the voting. The fact is that other members of Reform and FiF on the committee did vote with the majority to back the proposal. The two that did not do so abstained rather than voting against. If this pattern is followed at the General Synod, with those who voted against the earlier legislation instead voting in favour or abstaining, then the legislation will be carried easily.

What might derail it is the statement on headship: including it is highly problematic; trying to remove it may well upset the careful balance that has clearly been achieved. It may well have been necessary to include those words in order to get the support or abstention of a significant minority of the committee.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 3:06pm BST

I would urge all prospective commenters to read the actual report of the steering committee, which explains the proposals in a lot more detail than any newspaper article possibly can. This includes for example, an explanation of why two members abstained in the final voting. The report itself can be found at

Yes I know it is 34 pages. But it really needs to be read in full to understand the proposal that is being put before the General Synod.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 4:18pm BST

This looks like a truly very sincere and heartfelt attempt at a real, workable compromise by all concerned. Were I still in England I don't know that it would be enough to enable me to remain Anglican, but I suspect it will be for many FinF folk. It is at the least, I think, a remarkable piece of work by the group given where things stood and the feelings running high last November.

It's worth noting, Fr. Ron, that the abstentions were not from agreement with the content of the report, but from "commending" the legislation to Synod, because those members would have liked to have started from a place other than the so called "Option 1". However given that was the starting point, as I read the document, there was unanimous agreement by the group on the report itself.

I say very well done to the committee and I think it's a great achievement to have come this far in so short a time from a pretty bad place.

Posted by Clive at Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 6:10pm BST
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